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Jun 18, 2013 09:36 AM EDT

Alcohol Brings Out Native Accent in People, Says Cleveland Study


People can easily guess a person's background when they are under the influence of alcohol as the brain loses its ability to control speech and accent, says a study conducted by the Cleveland state university researchers. The study says that the more alcohol a person consumes, the more difficult it becomes for the brain to control the way one pronounces words.

'We slur our words, and it's harder to maintain the motor coordination and control needed for effective fine motor execution needed for speech production,' said Dr Amee Shah, director of Cleveland State University's Research Laboratory in Speech Acoustics & Perception.

Shah said that similar differences in speech can be noticed in those who are very tired or ill. When an individual is drunk or sick, all the brain's power is focussed towards managing easier tasks. The study says that it takes considerable brain power to suppress the regional twang.

'As an Indian speaker, I have managed to modify my Indian accent on my own, but when I'm tired, or my lips are freezing in the outside air in winter, I find it harder to pronounce the sound 'v', as in 'Victor', as the easiest thing for my muscles and thinking is to purse the lips and say 'w'," Shah said.

For example, when actress Reese Witherspoon was arrested for drunk driving, in April, her Southern Louisiana accent was more prominent in comparison to when she is sober. Scientists say that the accent might have been prominent due to the presence of alcohol.

Previous studies have revealed that regional accents are deeply embedded in every individual's mind.

"I've experienced this, usually on the Friday/Saturday night shifts when the Essex accents really come out!," - Cllr Cabbie said.

"My Mexican grandmother lived in my home until I was seven, when she passed away. My parents spoke English to me so my Spanish language skills are quite poor and I struggle to communicate in Spanish since I have little exposure to it. If I have a few drinks, it all comes back to me and apparently I'm rather fluent with a Mexican (non-American) accent. It's too bad I can't do that while sober," Lorena, from Houston, said.

 "That explains why I come out in an Irish accent at 3am then!" Kate said.

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